From the digitization and computerization of all public services to the development of technology that allows converting natural waste into energy resources. According to specialized media, such as Time magazine, the Asian giant is at the forefront in the manifestation of the fourth industrial revolution.
"For many years, China has been the factory of the world (...), but if you still think of them as sweatshops, it's probably time to change your perception." This is how Time magazine began in August of last year, its report on the Asian giant, and how its advances in AI are changing the way of doing business.
“As a society we have experienced three distinct industrial revolutions: steam power, electricity, and information technology,” Time describes. “AI is the engine driving the fourth industrial revolution globally, digitizing and automating everything, and China is at the forefront in manifesting this unprecedented change.”
After slightly suffering the consequences of the pandemic, the outlet explains that its economic recovery has been boosted by the adoption of artificial intelligence (AI). “After surpassing the United States in 2014, China now has a significant lead over the rest of the world in AI patent applications,” says Time.
In academia, it also recently surpassed the United States in the number of AI-related research publications and journal citations. All this, while the number of commercial applications grows day by day: from software, hardware and robotics, applied to agriculture, mining and research.
AI lowers operating costs, improves efficiency and productivity, and drives revenue growth—that's why it's making a difference in competitiveness.An Accenture report reveals that AI has the potential to add up to 1.6 percentage points to China's economic growth rate by 2035, thus reconfiguring the traditional development model based on investment of labor and capital.
Big Data at the service of people
Digitization and computerization remain key items on China's agenda, says the Mercator Institute for China Studies (Mercis), in a report published earlier this year. According to the entity, the main objective of the authorities is to take advantage of information technology (ICT) and Big Data to improve the efficiency of governance in all sectors: "Solutions based on data are considered essential to simplify bureaucracy ” , says Mercis.
In this context, the Asian giant has emphasized the exchange of data and the integration between government agencies, to generate a better use of Big Data analysis, as well as the adoption of artificial intelligence to predict and prevent risks, from economic and environmental to political and public health risks.
However, the same study centers warn that there are various issues associated with data privacy that must be observed in the face of this unprecedented transformation.
The case of mining
Although Chile has the largest copper resources in the world, China has managed to become the leading producer of copper cathodes, largely thanks to its technology. Currently, there are more than 30 copper smelters in the Asian giant, mainly in Jiangxi, Anhui, Gansu, Yunnan, Shandong and Hubei, with capacities from 100,000 to 400,000 tonnes, according to Springer Link. The casting process, meanwhile, is increasingly advanced thanks to process control within the plants.
Waste management efficiency
An article in the South China Morning Post reports that Alibaba Cloud is deploying artificial intelligence to make the waste incineration process more efficient, thus supporting the country's goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2060. The algorithm developed by the service unit Alibaba Group Holding's cloud facility seeks to generate an additional 360 million kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity each year from these facilities, equivalent to powering 33,600 US homes.
“Through automation, we have changed the way garbage treatment plants operate to reduce labor pressure on operators, environmental pollution, and equipment maintenance costs,” says Zeng Zhenyu, Vice President of Alibaba Cloud. in the South China Morning Post note.